Friday, June 22, 2012

Goose Bumps...

This morning I swapped some "Jehovah Shammah Moments" with a friend over coffee. (Actually, I had a sugar-free vanilla chai which tasted like CANDY).
But I digress...

Jehovah Shammah means "The Lord is there."
You KNOW it's a good story when you get goosebumps and tears in your eyes while listening. (Well, maybe your body doesn't respond to good things in that way...but mine just can't keep it all in, the energy has to find an outlet!)
She has such great stories! (Quick plug: you can read some of her stories here on her blog.)
After I wiped my nose and blotted my eyes, I got to thinking about the MANY times God has looked at my little family, watched us wrestle with some little thing; and made His presence known in a Big way.
As my girlfriend said this morning, "Those little nuggets of gold shouldn't be kept. They need to be shared." (or something along those lines.)
I agree - so I'm sharing. 

Goose Bump Moment #1
Eight years ago (ish), I lost my wedding rings. 
Both of them. The most expensive anythings that we owned outright.
Wedding Rings
Photo Credit
I had placed my rings on the nightstand by our bed (because I had gained a bit too much weight, but we don't need to remember that part of the story...)
I also had a child who was under the age of two (plus a three and a half year old who was GREAT at distracting keeping Mom's attention until it was "too late".) are way ahead of me already, aren't you?

By the time I realized my valuables were gone, they were no longer a thought in my little boy's mind. 
I asked him about them. 
He grinned big, nodded his head, and took me by the hand around the house...showing me toys and books and pieces of lint, but no rings.
I tore the house apart. I looked in couches, in vents, in trashcans. (I should add that my mom thinks that I threw HER wedding rings away when I was about the same age.) I knew this was history repeating itself. WHY had I not LEARNED from my mother's mistake?!

It had been almost a week. 
I was at the end of my rope. I had lifted frantic prayers in my search as I opened cupboards and sorted toy boxes. 
I finally resigned. I was NOT going to find them on my own.

Usually, sleep comes easy for me. (A trait my husband envies.)
But on one particular night, sleep eluded me.
I was lying there contemplating a Walmart run to find a simple stainless steel band I could wear. (I love being married and needed a ring to "tell the world.")
I started to talk to God. 
In the quiet.
In the still.
I prayed. Earnestly...and ready to hear an answer.

"Jesus, if those ring haven't gone out with the trash. If those rings are findable. Please reveal their location. If not, I'll accept that you can use this for your Glory. I did learn about the grace and love I can have toward my children...even if I want to STRANGLE them. And I learned about the grace and love Clay has for me...instead of strangling me."

As. Soon. As. I. finished. My. Prayer...
Pillows popped into my head.
Two ugly denim pillows sat next to the TV...they had zippers on them where they had been stuffed full of stuffing.
My toddler liked to unzip things. He would play with those pillows on occasion.
I jumped out of bed. My heart was racing. (Clay was completely befuddled.)
I nearly kicked the couch and stepped on 2 Hot Wheels cars as I stumbled in the dark to find those pillows.
I reached down, unzipped a pillow, put my hand in - and felt delicate metal...right on top, waiting for me.
Talk about tears and goosebumps.

God is ready to step in...when we ask.
And yet, I do not ask often enough.
And sometimes when I DO ask...I'm not ready to hear the answer, or I do not LOOK for his answer, or I do not see and ACKNOWLEDGE it.
"You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." James 4:2b-3
Lord, You are always there. 
Jehovah Shemmah.
I want to open my eyes to that reality.
I want my boys to witness your presence...even if it's through MY faith.
And I want to shout it to the world.

Linked up to Hip Homeschool HopLoving Our Children Tuesday, NOBH

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Qualifier

super hero
Photo Credit

When I speak about my husband, I tend to share about rainbows and lollipops and romantic gestures. According to my blog and many conversations I have with friends, you'd think I married Superman.

I once had a friend say, "You don't even know how to complain about your husband properly. You always preface your remark with 'Clay is such a good man, I don't know WHY I'm so frustrated with ______.'" 
(That's some tricky punctuation - a quote within a quote at the end of a sentence? Looked funny, but it's right - I Googled it.)

I digress...
I'm here to announce that...
Wait for it...

He irritates me, he "ruins" moments, and (on occasion) he has a nose hair try to escape his right nostril. The thing is, if I choose to focus on the imperfections, I KNOW my marriage will be difficult. So, even when I'm alone with my own thoughts and catch myself glaring holes into the back of a family member's head...I try to stop myself. I try to list the things I love about them. I try to focus on the greater good. I try to focus on the bigger picture. I try NOT to focus on ME.

Notice I said, "I try..."
I'm not Superman (or Supergirl, or Wonder Woman) either.

How is your thought-life? Do others see the good in your spouse because that is what you have shown them? Do you defend and protect the good in your spouse? He/she is made in the image of God. There IS good there...are you looking for it? And are you letting your spouse know that you see it - and are thankful for it?

Let's write down all the things that our spouses do - that we may take for granted. And let's make sure that we DON'T take them for least not today.

  • He went to work to earn money.
  • He shares that money with me and the kids.
  • He made more coffee than he needed so I would have some to drink too.
  • He snuggled my son when he woke up.
  • He called the bank. (I didn't have to!)
  • He kissed me goodbye.
  • He...
I bet this list will be pretty long. I think I might need to show him the list too.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

No pictures PLEASE!

Photo Credit

My life would be easier without photography.
It may not be as well-remembered, but it would be easier.
Hmmm, without photos:
  1. I wouldn't have guilt over scrapbooking (or should I say, NOT scrapbooking?)
  2. I wouldn't get overwhelmed by the thought of ORGANIZING 10 million digital photos from the last 11 years (give or take).
  3. I would never have a reason to think about how to hold my head "just so" to keep my face from looking fat.
  4. I wouldn't have to come up with comical, clever little sayings to make my kids give AUTHENTIC smiles. (OK, sometimes I'm pretty funny and crack myself up, but sometimes it's a pain.)
  5. I wouldn't have to see myself in photos and question the mirror that I look into each morning. (I KNOW my butt didn't look that big in those pants when I looked in my mirror - because if it had, I wouldn't have left the house in them.)
  6. I wouldn't have to be judged by my photo Nazi friends as I DELETE MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF PHOTOS. Do you know how many cute photos I have of my kids? If it's not funny or painstakingly adorable - DELETED!
  7. I wouldn't have to question my heritage. Was my great-grandmother a Satan worshiping heathen? Because when I look at most photos, I think I have her eyes - fiery red.
  8. I would get to experience each moment as it actually happens rather than seeing it through a camera lens.
  9. I wouldn't be irritated that my kids quit being cute RIGHT WHEN I GOT OUT THE CAMERA. Instead, I would just enjoy them being cute.
  10. I wouldn't have proof of how thin I use to be or how much hair Clay used to have...
    Oh wait. I remember why I LIKE having cameras. Proof.

Linked to Top Ten Tuesday and Hip Homeschool Hop

Monday, June 4, 2012


Lately, I've been annoying myself.
I cringe at my behavior, but I can't STOP.
I keep thinking, "HOW do I have any friends? I'm sick of myself. Thank you, Lord, for big grace."

I'm just so stinkin' wishy-washy. 
(Well, today I think I am...tomorrow I'll probably think I'm just "flexible".)

One month, I am on a sugar-free, no-carb diet; and the next day I'm suggesting that we all go out for ice cream.

I want to lose weight so my pants will fit, but I also want to love myself and be content JUST as I am.
One moment, "I'm so excited about my new method for doing chores!"...or my new Bible reading plan...or a new habit I've started (see this blog post ). 
And the next minute, it was "just too difficult to maintain"...
Or I was "too tired to bother"...
Or "I was blogging, so chores just had to wait."

I just can't seem to make up my mind. Ever.
(Check that...I'm decisive all the time - my decisions just don't manage to stick for very long.)
*Did I just waffle about how indecisive I am? Oh bother...*

In Romans 7:14, Paul wrote, 
"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."

Oh Paul, you "GET" me!

It drives me CRAZY when people adamantly say they are "going to change"...and then they don't. And that is EXACTLY what I keep doing!

I know God has me on a path where my flaky patterns will eventually give Him glory as He shines His light and life into each little crevice of my world, and HE changes me. 
But what do I do in the meantime? (You know, during the beat-my-head-against-the-wall-because-I'm-just-not-learning-the-lesson stage.)

My vacillating opinions aren't even the main problem. 
In fact, they may not be the problem at all. (Yes, even MORE wavering as I keep proving my own point.)
The crux of it all is my need to SHARE about each. and. every. flip-flopping. thought.*sigh* 

If I would just control that little tongue of mine, nobody would have a clue how incredibly erratic my thoughts and opinions actually are. I could FOOL the world into think I'm not insane if I would just SHUT UP.

Hmmm, the pastor has been doing a series on toxic behavior and controlling our tongues.
Our small group has also been studying James 3 which discusses the damning little organ of my body that can cause such large problems.
I think God might be shining a light on a dark spot already...and here I am - "talking about it."

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Weekly Wrap Up

In our homeschool this week...
My boys participated in the local talent show at the elementary school. My husband joined them for a few entries. The "main event" was posted here, but the following videos are where my sons actually SANG while they played. A new milestone.

My boys also did presentations at home this week.
Our 5th grader presented about the Bill of Rights to the rest of the family (in a kinesthetic, fun way that might help little brother remember it). The fact that it involved dart guns made it that much more enjoyable.
Our 3rd grader taught his older brother about the scientific classification of animals (with a bit of inspiration from this link). He finished up the lesson by making his brother come up with his own mnemonic to remember the scientific categories.
The categories for classification are: Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species
So, big brother came up with this mnemonic:
Khaki Pants Constrict Old Fat Geezers Sometimes.
We've been laughing at that all week. Consider the order remembered.

Things I'm working on...
I also discovered a history website with timeline figurines I can print. They have all kinds of collections from different time periods.

Source: via Becky on Pinterest

I am making a card game out of the figures.
On one side will be the picture and the name of the character and on the others side will be the picture and a date.
We each get 5 cards placed face up in front of us. (with no dates showing)
Then, one card will get put in the middle of the table (date showing).
Each player will then take turns and place a card from their line of cards onto the timeline.
"Does it occur before or after the event/people/invention already in the middle of the table?"
If they guess wrong, they put their card back and draw a new card from the pile.
Once there are multiple cards in the middle of the table, it gets difficult. Events can happen before, after, or between events.
The first person that gets rid of their cards wins!
This is NOT my own concept. It is based on the timeline game that I bought.

In my life this week...
At the breakfast table this week, I announced:
"Learning is a lifelong activity. It's not just something that happens in school - and since little brother forgot nearly EVERY SINGLE ONE of his multiplication facts last summer, we will continue reviewing and learning over the next few months. Don't worry, it will only be a little each day. A timed math drill here, an game of adjective eye-spy there..."
(you'll notice that I didn't mention writing - that would have been my downfall.)

They didn't even flinch. They just sat there with quizzical looks on their faces.
I think big brother was wondering how HE (with his extraordinary memory) was being lumped into my plan...and yet, he was torn - because he kind of LIKES learning.
Little brother was the one who shocked me. No complaints?
He REALLY doesn't want to forget how to multiply AGAIN.
(Oh, and long division! Let's not even think of having to RElearn long division.)

So there we sat. All in agreement. We would do a few minutes of school each day - just like we spend time reading our Bibles, doing our chores, and brushing our teeth.

It went so well...I might even up the ante.
I think I have come up with a BRILLIANT plan.
(I only hope it works as well as I keep daydreaming that it will.)
I am making a file folder full of writing "opportunities" where the boys can MAKE MONEY if they complete a writing assignment. We'll see how this goes...

The Homeschool Mother's Journal